What Kind of Website Should You Create?

There’re already a lot of websites these days, and interestingly, how each of them works is diversely unique from one another. Well, I’m not talking about the looks of the websites; I am referring to how they perform and to what purpose they serve.

Yet here you are today looking for some ideas to get guidance on your upcoming website. You must have been looking around, trying to decide what kind of website should you ‘buy.’ But looking at the functions or capabilities, you might be thinking of:

  • A site with multiple pages, or even a single-page website.
  • You want a separate page for a blog, but it’s sitting within the same website.
  • You want to incorporate feeds from your favorite news sites, and even feeds from social network sites.
  • You want to include a lot of photos, and probably even videos.
  • You want some ads and affiliate links to help you earn.
  • You want a site that also sells books you have written… or products.

I will not be surprised if you say ‘Well, I have encountered these features before in a single website!” Yes, they do work, and incorporating all of those features is not a crime. However, for starters, you might want to think about which type you would want to start with.

There’re different types of websites today. Many people call these types in different ways, and even group them according to how they work. But as for me, I would like to give you a short list:

  • Personal websites
  • Blogs
  • Community & networks
  • News and information
  • Search engines & directory sites
  • E-commerce/shopping sites
  • Brochure/catalogue websites
  • Files-sharing websites

1. Static vs Dynamic Websites

Basically, before we delve into the types of websites you can choose, you must first learn that a website is categorized according to behavior; some sites are static, and others are dynamic.

Static sites are sites on the web as they are, regardless of the country to where they’re being opened, and regardless the people who view them. Static sites usually do not open rooms for accounts or build communities, though it is still a possibility.

On the other hand, dynamic sites react based on given conditions or parameters set ahead by the administrator or is modified upon user interaction. Dynamic sites usually pose content and even change the way they behave when a specific trigger is proposed, such as a student being given of his favorite reading materials or examination files based on his personal progress or interests. Dynamic sites do not mean that there are flashy banners or rolling ads.

2. Personal Websites

These websites are personal, hence, generally they’re designed to be private rather than public. Content can vary from simple notes taken or a collection of photos.

Personal websites, though private as they are, can also be shared. These sites are helpful if you just want to limit the access of the information to a group, family members, or colleagues for work or personal purposes. Personal websites are not designed to be a venue for earning.

If you want a private domain where you store some sensitive or personal data, such as an online diary, or a place to where you and your friends’ stories meet, then choose a personal website.

3. Blogs

Getting to be overly common these days, the word ‘blog’ is actually derived from the words ‘web log.’

A blog today is a website featuring content that should be useful and friendly to people’s needs and wants. Unlike personal websites, blogs are designed to be public, and the information is supposed to be shared to anyone as much as possible.

Compared to other kinds of websites, a blog can be more flexible and can incorporate more features. A blog can deal with a topic of your choice (whether you want to talk about food or your expertise in web design), and you can post stories, news, updates, and even photos and videos within.

You can also earn with blogs through the use of affiliate links and allowing ads on your blog site, or even marketing your product!

Generally also, a blog is also run by a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress.

These systems help bloggers post new stories and even take control of their content in the easiest way possible. A blog is used by different kinds of people with different kinds of expectations.

Whether you are into a business, an author, a photographer, a high school student, or a fish lover—a blog is a haven for information that you want to share.

4. Communities & Networks

You’re very aware of these—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. These are the websites specifically designed for making connections between people in the digital way. A social network site comes with a lot of features and unique capabilities, most of which you cannot replicate within a blog or a static website alone.

Aside from empowering ways to help people communicate ideas and stories, social networks can also be very effective in marketing products, services, and skills.

Bloggers use social networks to help their content reach more people. Entrepreneurs use social networks to build camaraderie among people and to even market what they have to offer. Other websites also use social networks mainly to get more traffic.

Forums are also a form of social network, though these sites usually are the centers for discussions. People go to forum to ask opinions, instructions, and even solutions to queries or problems, all in wait for some other members to exchange ideas.

Forums are generally helpful for customer support and retention purposes, rather than making them the main source of traffic or meeting new people.

5. News & Information

As the name implies, these are the sites dedicated to bringing fresh or valid information to people. Sites such as CNN (www.cnn.com), BBC (www.bbc.com), Merriam-Webster (http://www.merriam-webster.com/), WikiPedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page) and even CNET (www.cnet.com) fall unto this type of website.

On the other side of the story, blogs which deal with the latest trends, practices, and even updates can also fall on this type of website.

But be careful though: blogs should appear as blogs and nothing else! Lastly, websites under this type don’t need to get all the information about everything! If you’re into cameras, for example, then your site can be a good source of information simply about it.

6. Search Engines & Directory Sites

These are the websites that help people get direct information from a string of keywords or search queries. Yellow Pages (www.yellowpages.com) does it right by helping people get contact details from businesses across the globe.

Google (www.google.com) also aids people in search queries by crawling to virtually all websites to harvest helpful information that are most relevant to a set of words being entered.

7. E-commerce/Online Shopping Sites

Like Amazon (www.amazon.com) and eBay (www.ebay.com), these are the websites whose main goal is to sell and nothing else.

Unlike most types of websites, an e-commerce site is generally the hardest to develop on behalf of designers and developers. Online shopping sites not only demand a good look and neat presentation of content, but people would always require these sites to be totally secure especially in processing payments. And as you’d expect, like any businesses and retail stores, an online shopping site requires much more maintenance, better human resource, and a more solid backbone to maintain a consistent and reliable performance.

8. Brochure/Catalogue Websites

Another very common type of website, brochure sites are generally more for marketing purposes. People with businesses put up brochure websites merely for online presence, followed by other purposes such as getting traffic and even selling products.

Authors, designers, web developers, architects, and even agencies use this type of website to let people know of them.

Brochure websites aren’t necessarily required to be complicated; in fact, the simpler and clearer, the better. Brochure websites can by either dynamic or static, and can come either as a single-page website or multi-page website.

This type of website simply answers the basic W’s (who, what, where, when, and even the how) of a company, identity, or brand.

9. Files-Sharing Websites

Files-sharing websites, or some would call them as online/cloud storages, is another type of website you should not miss to know.

Examples of this type include Dropbox (www.dropbox.com), Rapidshare (https://rapidshare.com/home), and even Google Drive (https://drive.google.com/).

The main purpose of these sites is to store content and allow them to be shared conveniently in the most diverse ways possible.

People can create an account (and sometimes asked for registration and monthly premiums), upload or backup their files for storage and security purposes, and share them using unique links. Torrent sites such as KickAssTorrents (http://kickass.to/) and ThePirateBay (http://www.thepiratebay.sx/) can also fall under this type.

How Should You Choose?

For a website, you can have as much features as you choose, as long as you need them all and they do not distract people from your website’s ultimate or main goal. However, for starters, you may ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the main thing that I will offer on my website? Is it a list of products? A service? Information? Stories? Ideas? Tutorials? Videos? Photos?
  • What is the type of website that fits to my schedule and budget so far? (the more complicated the site is, the more expensive)
  • Do I have people to help me build and maintain this site? Am I willing to hire, just in case?

8 Reasons Why Startup Companies Should Blog

The number of blogs out there (including this blog) is enormously increasing and reaching to a billion in count, and the possibilities are just awesome to realize for now.

Blogging has been widely known already and is already to be considered as a common word in the social context. No, this doesn’t mean that you must also bite the chance to blog. However, if you have a business or a website and you’re a startup, you might want to consider blogging.

There are a few reasons why you’re not yet blogging on the professional end. Some of which may include these:

  • ‘I have nothing to write about;’
  • ‘I don’t have the skills in writing;’
  • ‘I don’t know how to do it;’
  • ‘I think it’s a waste of time (and money);’
  • ‘Does it really work?’
These are some of the most common ‘arguments’ that we deal with when we talk about blogging for startups. If you would only realize the value of blogging and what it can really harness for you, then for sure you’ll always find ways to do one for yourself and for your business.

Listed below are some quick reasons why you as a startup should consider blogging:

1. A blog provides a social space for you.

A social space? Seriously? Yes, it is! A blog exists on the cyber space, and like social networking sites, blogs are also credible channels of communication. If you’re the guy who wants to talk about how good you can do a service or how plausible your product is, then consider blogging.

One thing so challenging as an entrepreneur is that you’re locked within a tight schedule day after day, limiting your opportunities to interact to new people daily. With a blog virtually sitting right next to you, you can know for sure that what you have written can ‘do the talking’ while you’re busy looking at the other details of your business.

2. It drives more traffic

If luckily you already own a website, you would want that website to reach more people and gain more credible traffic. Thankfully, Google is logically generous enough to crawl to every blog space out there as well. By making a blog, you’re giving the best search engines another big chance to make your site or your business more visible.

Blogging also is now almost perfectly considered to be the main source of backlinks and other form of links exchange. This means that Google and other search engines on the web will look at your site as something to be worth considering, compared to that when you have none. Of course, relatively speaking, that will also depend on the quality of the content.

3. Getting an excited audience base

Since you’re a startup, why won’t you tease some number of people out there to get excited about what you really have to offer in the future in full shape and size? With a blog, you can do so easily, and the results can be surprising.

Blogging allows you to consider posting a less-formal form of press release, letting you announce events or products along the startup process. If you can write it well, then you can be sure that a lot will get excited about it. How about adding a video or a photo of the partial plan or product?

4. Gaining more credibility pulses

One thing a startup would always wait to struggle for is that, it is not yet established, and this means that trusting the business is a risky thing especially for potential clients and partners.

Getting a blog will show people—especially on the niche you have chosen—that you’re so darn serious with what you’re doing, and you’d want nothing but support. You can show people that you’re persistent with it that you’d want people to witness the startup’s progress, and that you want them to enjoy the summit of your hard work in the near future. Who would not want to trust such level of confidence and credibility?

5. Sporting a bigger head

Even if you’re just a startup, you can already show that you’re good with your own niche through a blog. No, it doesn’t really require that you be a master-of-all-trades or an ‘einstein-of-your-field.’ All you need is to contain confidence, authenticity, and integrity in what you post, and people will love you for being original and trustworthy.

Blogging gives you a bigger window for you to share and harvest feedback and opinion. You can tell original stories or reports about what you know and what you think is right. It allows you to learn also, because by doing your own research you also are getting trained along the way. And lastly, by regularly posting quality content, people will sustainably ask for your opinion, and in return you can be an expert already in your own sweet ways.

6. Another valuable reference

You may or may not have a website yet, but having a blog will allow people to communicate with you easier than having none. Aside from the usual interactions allowed in a blog such as sending direct e-mails or posting comments, having a blog will also open doors to other channels like linking to pages and social network sites.

Lastly, dedicating a small area to include all your contact details will also do well.

7. An inexpensive marketing tool

Obviously, having a blog also means that you can sell your service or your product better. Starting a blog will help you sell, will help you talk to people, and will help you gain trust.

Furthermore, blogging doesn’t really require that much price as you would with an actual personal assistant. Aside from being cheap, it’s also simple, and gets ways lot better as time goes by. According to studies, businesses who blog do generate like 67% more leads.

8. A strong motivator

As a startup, we understand that strong need for motivation of support. Having a blog with a lot of loyal viewers means that you can get more encouragement to do more of what you do good, and get better with what you’re currently offering.

Like any other bloggers would say, an impressive spike in a page view really enkindles their will to give more and write more. If you needed some emotional boost, these people will also help you out and will even pull your records back on track. They may also help you stay going on your business just in case you went off the clock for a while.

What Exactly Is Domain Hosting?

If you are a novice when it comes to purchasing a domain, you probably have heard or encountered the term “domain hosting”. Like anyone else who is interested, you might have wondered what domain hosting is. Understanding how domain hosting works and how it can affect the welfare of your website is crucial for your success.

Simplified explanation of domain hosting

There are many explanations about domain hosting and most of them are really complicated and hard to understand. However, in this post, I will give you a simplified explanation of the term domain hosting.

Think about domain hosting as renting a virtual space on the Internet. It is very important that you have a storage space on the web (world wide web) so that you can publish content, upload files, and store data. In most cases, a website owner doesn’t have the means, resources, or the facilities to store their data online. This is where the importance of a host comes in.

A web host is a company that already has the facility to allow you to publish content. If you acquire the service of a host company, you’re “renting” a storage space of their facility in order for you to store data online. In effect, every time you publish or upload data online, your host or server will provide a place for your website files to be stored.

In order for you and other people to find your files, a server will assign an address or domain name to your website files. Thus, we have unique domain names today that will not only function as an address for us to find the website, but also a system for hosts to organize their clients.

Different types of domain hosting

There are different types of domain hosting and each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Cloud hosting – this is the most flexible type of domain hosting, since you can easily scale down or up the space you need. Thus, sometimes cloud hosting is known as on-demand hosting as you will only pay for the space you used. Most website owners prefer cloud hosting because it is very convenient to use and less commitment is needed.
  • Colocation Facilities – this is deemed as the most expensive type of domain hosting, but it gives you the greatest freedom on how your system administration should look like. The server will provide the Internet connection, climate control, and power source and leave the system administration on your hand.
  • Virtual private server – the main feature of this domain hosting is the virtualization technology. The main advantage of virtual private server is that it can empower multiple clients with just one physical server. Some argue that this domain hosting can compromise privacy and security since multiple domains run with only one physical server. In addition to this, virtual private server will give you less freedom on how you want your website to look like. You need to pay for additional services if you intend to go premium. One good example of this is the wordpress.com. You can create a website but you will retain the name of the main server. So instead that you have www.myownwebsite.com, you will end up with www.myownwebsite.wordpress.com. For those people who intend to just blog or own a non-profit website, they can opt for this service since it is almost free, if not cheap.
  • Dedicated hosting service – if you don’t want to share server with other website owners, you can opt for dedicated hosting service. With this, you will be given a dedicated physical server and you will have the exclusive right to use it. You will also have the full control on how you want to run your domain.
  • Complex managed hosting – this is the most complicated type of hosting. If you want to acquire the advantages of all the hosting types, then you can use complex managed hosting. In this type of hosting, you will be able to combine two or more types of hosting. Different combinations will result to different results. These are the most common type of domain hosting. There are other types as well that can be referred to as domain hosting, which include file hosting service, wiki farms, game servers, e-mail hosting service, web hosting service, and DNS hosting service.

What is bandwidth?

If you are going to talk about domain hosting, then you might sooner or later encounter the word “bandwidth”. Like what I said earlier, domain hosting will allow you to rent a virtual storage space online, but how much storage space you can use is referred to as bandwidth. It will be very disadvantageous for servers to provide an unlimited bandwidth for websites. Thus, they try to regulate the use of storage space by charging each of their clients according to the bandwidth they use. Normally, they will set a bandwidth limit at the beginning of the contract. When a client exceeds the set bandwidth, then the server will have to charge the client accordingly.

Final Words

These are the basic principles that you need to know about web or domain hosting. With these in mind, you will surely have a better idea on how domain hosting works. Most importantly, you will be equipped with the right information to make the right decision as you choose the type of hosting you need.

Freelancers: How To Handle Difficult Clients

As freelancers, we are entitled to a lot of benefits or privileges, among which includes our freedom to choose our clients and hence choose our work as well. We have the unique capabilities of nodding on the people we would like to call as boss, and again, that is if we are also willing to be subordinated at least by a contract. As freelancers, we are then entitled to meet different clients based on our niche, some of which may be too difficult to deal with.

Clients fold in a lot of personality and attitude, and taking business factors aside, clients are just plainly other people from other place with whom we have to get along. In freelancing, we aren’t required to learn the real social skills, more because we don’t technically meet them face to face, but the difficulties remain on the surface. Included in some of the difficulties are clients who are:

  • Not paying on time;
  • Not agreeing to contract terms and procedures;
  • Changes their mind more often than expected;
  • Expecting too much, demanding, and are perfectionists;
  • On and off with communication;
  • Too unprofessional or unethical;
  • Always arguing with you.

The question now is, how do you deal with these clients? You don’t want headache and you don’t want to waste your time on them, so here’re some guidelines or tips to help you iron them out:

1. You’re the expert.

As a freelancer, you’re in a respectable position wherein clients look up to you because you ‘can.’ And because you’re the expert here, you must show them at first that you got your niche covered, you know what they’re asking, and you know what you’re talking about.

The problem comes in when a client would insist too much that he’s better or more proficient than you. Though in some cases, this would really happen, for most cases all you need to do is to be firm with what you believe and do. If you’re a designer, then don’t bend on what they want if what you did is what you believe is proper and more pleasing. If they don’t want your work, it’s not your problem.

2. Straightforward contract

Binding both of you as freelancer and client is a written contract agreed by both parties. Be sure that when you hand a contract to your client—or when a client hands you a contract, you’re pretty confident that everything there—especially the payment matters—are included. How about contingencies? Will you also charge for revisions and future editing? What are the coverage of the payment? What is the most specific job description? Are you willing to do extra hours? Will you offer any additional service?

The problem comes in when the client would ask you to do something for FREE out of the written contract. If that’s the case, ask for another sub-contract or you can update one. The point here is that, you must have the proof that something is already agreed. If the client breaks the contract, you have the right to say it’s his problem.

3. Listen to your gut-feeling or intuition.

This may sound like it’s too subjective, but sometimes, believing in your gut is like paying attention to warning bells or yellow caution flags. You can always sense for yourself from the very beginning if a client can be worked along or not; simply talking to a client will let you know if he’s a respectful and professional guy or not. If you hate negative outcome, then better not to avoid the risks of dealing with clients whom you’re pretty suspicious of something.

4. Educate them.

Your job also as a freelancer is to dictate how things will work out. Again, you’re the expert. Since you’re being hired for a job, the client must agree to work at your own pace and at your own style. He must maintain that respect for your skills and preferences, and your part then is to let them know how things will flow. The problem comes in when the client is the one who dictates, ‘flattening’ the freelancer of his capabilities and preferences. As a freelancer, you don’t want to appear really as an employee. Maintain that solid profile of yours without appearing bloated, and you’ll gain respect over time.

5. Get ahead of the details.

To help you with clients who are not even sure of what they’ll require from you, why don’t you take the initiative of laying things out by detail? Send them a questionnaire about the specifics of the job if you cannot talk about them or if talking with that client is just a waste of time. Wait for the complete response before you start signing a contract.

6. Get ready for upfront.

Don’t feel intimidated to ask for upfront payment; this is just a security measure to gauge that both of you’re willing to work on an agreed project. There’s not really a rule that says you have to ask exactly 50% upfront payment of the total agreed price, but the point here is that, if you want your effort to be worth it, ask for its worth then.

7. Don’t try to change them.

Like anybody else, clients are also prone to negativities and circumstances in life, making them appear abusive or intimidating or even pointless. Since you’re a professional freelancer, try to empathize but not overly sympathize. Say you’re sorry if necessary, be overly patient but staying firm with your goals, and don’t allow yourself to be distracted with factors like compassion and humility. If you encounter a client who seemed to have some personal issues, let them deal with it and never let those issues touch the project and even you. Stay on track, and if their problems would insist, feel free to fire them.

8. Do only partial turnovers.

For those who did not go for hourly contracts, turning over a well-done project can be risky especially if the client is unverified or is a newbie. If you failed or if you desired not to ask for upfront payment, send back only a partial of the completed project until the full payment is guaranteed. In this way, you’re sure that you’ll get paid for what you did and that you’re sure also that the client saw what you did and is paying for it.

You can do partial turnovers in a lot of ways. If it is a written document, lock it up for read-only purposes. If it is a design mockup, show only a snapshot of the project. Whatever the project and whatever the job is, there’s always a way to partially turn it over to the client.

Explained: Different Types of Web Design

You’re no longer excused these days of the experience of surfing the web. Whether you’re only viewing your Facebook profile, or watching a video from Vimeo, or downloading a movie, you’re always exposed to different websites doing different things. Actually, some websites which seem not to do anything at all still does something, which you’ll later find out.

There are different types of websites. If you’re planning out to have your own website—or even just a blog, you need to have at least a fair amount of knowledge as to which type suits best to your needs and wants. The most common types of website designs are:

  • Blogs
  • Content Management Systems (CMS)
  • E-commerce sites
  • Static websites
  • Brochure websites

Preliminary questions

The best thing to start first before considering a type of website is to ask yourself these few critical questions:

  • Why do I need a website?
  • Can having a website wait?
  • What are you going to do with a website? Are you going to showcase your work, start a community, sell some goods, or simply provide information?
  • Do I already have a brand or identity that I should start with?
  • Who or what is your target market or viewers? What’s the best way to reach them?
  • What are the functions that I need my website to have?
  • What is my niche? How can I make my website look like it’s for that niche?
  • What do my competitors have? How do they meet their goals using their websites?
  • Do you plan to update your content every day? DO you want to include other content like downloadable files, videos, etc.?
  • Do I have any other plans for my website or company in the future?

Asking yourself these few questions won’t only ease you up with the choice of your website, but alongside of it, you can also save a lot more time and resources while still reaching the goal you had set.

Static Websites

Once the most common type of websites but is now getting off the stage, static websites are simply websites created generally using only HTML and CSS codes. In short, designing a static website is fairly the easiest among the types, but can still retain a very fashionable or marketable appeal through the use of a well-thought navigation layout, good graphics or images, and good performance.

Static websites are mostly used by small companies or even individuals who just wanted to extend their marketing assets online. These websites don’t need any database, and the content stays the same regardless the kind or count of visitors. This type of website is also generally comprised of more or less five pages and won’t get any much more in the future.

Advanced Static Websites

Perhaps already the most common, advanced static websites introduces the use of scripting to play with HTML and CSS to produce interactive elements. Dropdown menus, smooth animations, sliders, and other design effects make these static websites advanced. In a lot of cases, advanced static websites are also called as a dynamic site, which you’ll learn more later.

With advanced static website designs, the options of are also more diverse such as the inclusion or integration of Social Media, multimedia elements such as videos and music, and even contact forms. But these are still static websites in general because they don’t necessarily ask for a database, and the content—no matter how animated it is—stays the same unless updated by the owner.

Brochure Websites

As the name suggests, this type of website design acts more like a real brochure; it’s a marketing material. Brochure websites are generally sites that showcases information about the company, and is generally static in nature. A home page with updates of news, an integration of a blog, a portfolio page, an about page, a contacts page—these are the most common tabs found on a brochure website.

Blogs

Blogs which lately stood for ‘web logs’ is another very common type of website. Blogs are generally more like a website that features content above anything else; the probabilities of having products to sell and even other non-relevant pages can be options as well. Blogs are more used by people who want to share stories or lessons, or even by companies who want to share helpful information or articles about anything around a specific niche.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

CMS is more regarded to be helpful for bloggers, but can also be used in a wide variety of ways. The unique feature of a CMS is its system: a specialist will build the system once (and when the need would arise in the future requiring modifications), and leaves the content insertion to the client after a serious orientation or tutorial. The website is then to be maintained more by the client, while the specialist is expected to ‘stand by.’

Some of the famous CMS today include Tumblr, WordPress, and Blogger, each having its own strengths and weaknesses. Nevertheless, CMS can be extensively flexible and capable with extra features (like through the use of plug-ins or extensions), and can be either static or dynamic.

E-Commerce

The most complex of all the types of website design, e-commerce sites require a serious amount of code that would cater to factors essential for a business: reliability, security, performance or speed, ease of use, presentation, and even customer retention. E-commerce site include a lot of features such as an effect contact and e-mail system, membership database, dynamic content, search engine optimization (SEO), shopping carts, and other integrations like PayPal.

Like Amazon and eBay, e-commerce sites are always dynamic in nature, and can be done also using complex content management systems for easy input of products. This type of website is like a virtual shopping center wherein people come and go to buy or inquire for a product or service. Moreover, there are some web applications like Magento that eases e-commerce site management and maintenance.

8 Best Resource Websites for Web Designers

Whether you’re simply a graphic designer doing icon designs, or a creative web developer who are into a better web experience for anyone, there’s always a site to help you stay connected with your passion and even drive you to the top. These sites are but helpful also in a lot of ways such as:

  • Tips from experts of your field
  • Tutorials or techniques to new skills and workflows
  • News and updates about ongoing trends and best practices
  • Design samples and inspirations
  • Free items to be used for your work

Clinging along with these sites not only give you these obvious benefits, but will also make you a ‘better’ designer simply because you’re well-informed. You can even be a part of a bigger community through memberships, and you may not know, you may even be entitled to a lot of other freebies and benefits.

As a designer also, I have known some few great sites that would be really helpful for all web designers. I bet you know many if not some of them, and I recommend you always stay in touch with them by subscribing from them and even following them on social media sites.

Counted below are some best resource websites for web designers:

1. Hongkiat

One of the leading websites for amateurs and pros, Hongkiat delivers tips, tutorials, guides, downloadables, and other stuff in one easy blog. The design of the blog is so easy to the eyes and is content-centered, and seemingly all topics (depending on your interests) will really tempt you to open them. Topics covered include web technologies, web design and development, graphic design inspirations, stories about technology, gadgets, Android and iOS, etc. Thanks to Lim Hong Kiat (thus the name of the domain), we have a very friendly site to learn a lot of stuff about the web and other tech.

2. Smashing Magazine

As the brand suggests, this website is more likely to be a ‘child’ of a print product. However, moving forward, what you get with Smashing Magazine are a lot of tutorials, inspirations, tips and tricks—all of which are aimed more for professionals whether it be in the filed of coding, design, mobile graphics, UX design, and an added WordPress. A great resource for the latest updates especially on web development, you can always check out if any topics would interest you.

3. Web Design Ledger

Web Design Ledger—or WDL for short –is another quick haven for freebies, resources, best practices, inspirations, and other tools necessary to maintain your career on the web. One thing so unique about this site is that it has no ads—a feature which I hope will be maintained for a distraction-free runaway.

4. Web Designer Depot

A beautifully-designed website for web designers and developers, the Web Design Depot offers a lot of interesting topics and always-fresh content. There are a lot of things to note if you’re to talk about the uniqueness of this depot, one of which is that you can quickly and easily search topics according to categories of your interest or work. Another is that the site is visually appealing—from animations made from JavaScript to powerful yet minimalistic graphics from top to bottom.

5. Abduzeedo

Abduzeedo (from Abduzido—Portugese language—which means ‘abducted’) cannot be simply said as a ‘blog,’ because it doesn’t really look like one. Like any others in today’s list, Abduzeedo provides a handful of decent tutorials, inspirations, and even resources for designers and a little less for developers. However, unique in this website is that they also inspire designers around the world to contribute by sharing their work and stories. If a work is chosen, they will be posted on the Daily Inspiration of the site.

6. Tutsplus.com

One of the most popular resources and is among the most successful ones, Tuts+ is actually not just simply one site; there are a lot of branches, each covering a topic such as Photoshop and design tutorials, for example (see http://psd.tutsplus.com). While they offer a lot of free materials and tutorials, they also offer a premium subscription to access exclusive but handsome content. With a premium membership, you can access video tutorials, manage your own e-books library, professional web tutorials, and even quick access to forums and customer service.

7. 1st Web Designer

Another repository of tutorials and resources for web design and development, 1st Web Designer also offers a lot of other deals to make the site more like a business as well. However, what I like about this site is that the lessons (tutorials) are very organized that you can easily find what you’re looking for depending on your proficiency level with design or with development. Lastly, if you’re a freelancer and you love freelancing, 1st Web Designer also offers some useful tips and guides to help you make the most out of your career.

8. Designreviver.com

A very simple and straightforward website, all you get from Design Reviver are mostly freebies if not inspirations and tutorials for the major Adobe products such as Photoshop and Illustrator. Whether it is a font style, a wallpaper, a refreshing technique, or icon sets—you got all of them here. No distractions.

What Exactly Is The Role Of A Web Designer?

When we hear the title ‘web designer,’ we usually think of a lot of things, and the problem is that we think so differently that some are even debatable. Yes, to be a web designer, one must really be creative and artistic, but is that just all of it?

Especially with the entrance of free online learning for computer and web development, it seemed like the qualifications of being a web designer went more complex and harder to swallow.

For many who are not yet into other things outside designing itself, learning things like HTML and CSS is also something that intimidated a lot. What I mean is, does a web designer need to learn and focus on other things like these nowadays?

This may sound bad, but frankly, most companies require or ask too much from a web designer when in fact, a candidate should only be hired to just ‘design.’

Usual Required Qualifications

It may be so sad to know that the role of a web designer is now more complex and more difficult. Thankfully, they are at least well paid, and the industry they are into are getting bigger and more stable as well. Check out these basic qualifications you might often notice on job descriptions:

  • Generally, a web designer is responsible for the design, layout, and development of a website
  • Responsible for both technical and graphical aspects of a site
  • Ability to communicate well to come up with the best ideas of presentation, function, and experience, and can discuss with clients about site requirements and progress of an ongoing project
  • Website testing and troubleshooting
  • Site launching for uploading to necessary registrations
  • Creative, imaginative, and is enthusiastic with new information and techniques
  • A team player as he will collaborate with other developers of different disciplines and with the client
  • Create mockups for testing, and create samples for assessment
  • Able to meet deadlines and can maximize set hours

These qualifications usually fall on an employment basis, and much limited when it comes to freelancing web designers. For freelancers, the job description and basic qualification are all to be discussed by both parties, i.e., the client and the freelancer, and the terms are all locked in a contract.

Beyond the borders

Listed below are some of the qualifications which may already be deemed ‘too much’ for the scope of web designing alone:

  • Content writing, copywriting, and other forms of web writing—writing burns a real amount of time and energy and hence cannot be blended with those expected of a web designer
  • Professional SEO services—there are SEO specialists out there and the discipline is too big to be included in the job description of a web designer
  • Photography and videography services—images usually used by web designers are supposed to be made ready by the client, or can be purchased from online sites (such as stock photos)
  • Data entry—another resource-intensive task too much to be added for a web designer’s list of tasks
  • PhP, MySQL, and other server-side languages—since designers are merely designers and not builders, the server-side or back-end languages must be handled separately by dedicated professionals. Such then is also the case of an architect not required to learn plumbing.
  • Marketers and Social Media managers—get some marketing people out there to help you rather than making your designers do the ‘extra talking.’

What we say

We would like to reiterate that web designers must be ‘legally’ separated as a unique job ID rather than being confused with web developing and website managers. This idea is established on some quick facts:

  • Knowing the technical side of web development doesn’t guarantee and doesn’t make you a good designer (artist).
  • Designer can focus on his own discipline which is design only, and his imagination must not be locked to current technology; it’s the technology that must bend or stretch to ideas.
  • It’s good for a web designer to learn about the back-end technology since it allows them to communicate with developers easily. However, they must be free to concentrate and get creative on what they do which is design.
  • There will always be a need for talented and artistic designers.
  • Design has always been a separate discipline, and should always be kept distinct. Leaving it this way will provide more jobs to people, and a solid opportunity to those who want to help make the web a more beautiful place without the burden of knowing ‘web engineering.’
  • Lastly, design is not easy, no matter how elite and experienced you are, and no matter what tool you use.
 

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

You’ve built a great website – now you need your customers to find you. Search engine optimization makes your site easier to find.

When your site is built and maintained in line with an effective SEO strategy, you will get more web traffic. This is how it works:

The search engines collect information from every page on the web so they can help people find exactly what they’re looking for. When potential customers type in a search query to Google or a similar search engine, they will see a page of the most relevant websites.

Every search engine uses an algorithm; a complex mathematical code that determines the popularity, relevancy and value of a website.

For instance, if you type in ‘news’ to Google Search, the top list of website results are likely to be very well known news channels. The algorithm has determined that these are the most relevant to the search term ‘news’.

Why are websites like ‘CNN’ and ‘Fox News’ higher up in the Google rankings when typing ‘news’? Well for one they have a lot of content which contains that term. Not only that, the sites have a lot of web traffic and many third party websites will link to these news sites.

When lots of reputable websites link to one particular site, the search engines interpret that almost as a recommendation – the links tell Google that this site has valuable and relevant content so should be ranked accordingly.

So search engine optimization is about making your website the most relevant and valuable to your target audience by fulfilling a number of key criteria as defined by the search engines.

One way to make your website more relevant is by having consistent high quality content which contains carefully chosen keywords.

Another great way to improve your search engine rankings is to entice other popular websites to link to your website – this will boost your online reputation and encourage even more websites to link to you.

Good SEO is about great content; be relevant, be engaging and make sure you provide value to your target audience on a consistent basis.

If you’d like more detailed information check out Google’s SEO Starter Guide.

Landing Pages – Why are they so Important?

What is Landing Page Really?

A landing page is exactly what its name suggests: a page people land on after clicking on a link. These links can originate from your advertisement, an email you send out to subscribers or a link from any other place you designate on the web. A landing page can be a page on your website or a separate page you create for a specific reason.

A landing page is not just a web page; it is a web page with a purpose.

Tips To An Optimized Landing Page

Here are a few tips to remember that will cause your visitors to take action!

Relevance – The most effective landing pages are those that are relevant (similar colors and content) to the place from which they originated.

Example: You are selling shoes on your website and you put up an advertisement on another website about your sale on red boots.

Potential customers viewing your advertisement are expecting to land on a page where they can quickly and easily find red boots. By sending visitors to a landing page that contains red boots and has similar colors and content to the advertisement, you will keep visitors on your site because they received exactly what they expected. If you send these same visitors to any other page or a page with different colors and messaging, they will either be forced to look around or they will leave your site altogether. 

Every second you add on to a visitor’s search time, you run a greater risk of losing them. In the impatient online world, every second counts! There are too many websites with which you are competing. Don’t give your potential customers the chance to leave your page and stray to another!

Professional, but simple – Your landing page should be very professional, but not overdone. Keep it simple and easy for visitors to find the information they are seeking. Too many distractions can turn people away.


Test, test and test again – Every design and interactive element is a critical component of a landing page. The best method to determining what works is to test the various iterations. Change only one element at a time and test your conversions for each. With only a few tests you should have a better idea of what appeals most to your audience.


A reason why – Give your visitors a reason why they should subscribe to your list or buy from you. Your landing page should explain why your offer is superior to your competitors and why it is unique.
 Know your audience! – One of the most important marketing strategies is to know who is clicking on your links. Target your landing pages to your demographic.

Whom are you targeting? 
What is their gender? 
What are their hobbies? The more you can answer these questions and the more specific you get, the more you will cater to their needs. This leads to sales!

Above the “fold” – “Above the fold” is an internet marketing term that denotes the top third of your website or the section that users see without scrolling. Add all of the necessary information above the fold so users do not have to scroll down to find out about your offer. Don’t make your visitors work hard. Again, remember…every second counts!
 Guarantees – Make your visitors feel safe on your landing page. Include a guarantee they can use if they are not satisfied with your offer.


Testimonials – Wouldn’t you be convinced to buy a product that came with a few great testimonials? Include reviews so people can see that your product or offer is worth it!

An effective landing page will make or break your business. Every element is important and should be carefully planned and executed. Follow these tips to experience landing page success!

Good Examples Of Landing Pages Inspirations

Here are some of the list of great websites that I actually adore and would definitely use them as inspirations for future projects. Great landing page gets you money in the bank!